Sometimes you look around your kitchen and realise that all your old pots and pans are, well, just that – old. The earthen pots get better with age but when handles of saucepans start falling off and the prospect of scolding yourself with boiling hot water meant for the tea pot, is very real then it’s time you go shopping.
We went to the Prestige Smart Kitchen the other day in search of a new saucepan (knowing full well that I never walk out with just one thing at a kitchen store). Prestige has completely distanced themselves from the clunky ugly old pressure cooker image. Their products are not just vibrantly coloured but have some great shapes and a range of cooking surfaces whose thermodynamic properties I will not profess to fully comprehend. Who would have thought an apple shaped, apple green pressure cooker – to match our car perhaps. They’ve got great appliances too, from barbeques to hand blenders.
The clincher is that they have a scheme going which they call “Anything for Anything”. Bring in any old, (and I saw some really manky stuff there), broken, damaged cooking utensil of any brand (not stainless steel) and get 20 to 30% off on any other new utensil of your choice. Or bring in an old kitchen electrical appliance and buy any new appliance for 30 to 60% off. If you bring in 2 items and buy only one in exchange, you don’t get 40% off, you get only 20% off. Still, this is a great offer because you don’t have to spend a fortune on non-stick or anodised pots and pans.
We were back there a week later with a couple of old tavas and pans that have lost all non-sticking powers and I’m delighted with the kettle for the DH’s office and a large non-stick saute pan we got in exchange. They have utensils of very good quality from as little as Rs450. There’s nothing like feeling you’ve got something for nothing and getting great customer service in the bargain (this was at the Waltair Road shop in Vizag). The chaps there didn’t speak very good Hindi and probably didn’t have much education but they knew all the appliances inside out, were smartly dressed and happy to help.
As we left feeling very chipper about purging ourselves of old stuff and getting new things in exchange, we began to wonder what a company like Prestige could gain out of people’s old junk. It’s hardly going to get them a lot of money from melting the metals down or selling it for scrap. We then came to the conclusion that this is a great way (marketing scheme) to make every household in India to a Prestige Smart Kitchen. If not the whole kitchen, then your bound to have at least one Prestige item. This exchange offer is a great way to get people in to their stores to know more about their products. And you’ll definitely walk away with something when you’re getting 20% off.
In India we hate to throw away stuff, we’ll reuse and repair everything from shoes to TVs till they are barely an inch away from being snuffed out. Even then, an old underwear becomes a duster, torn towels become mops or kitchen dish towels, and bulbs become pot holders for money plants. When we do have to finally throw things away, we give it to the kabadiwala, a unique member of Indian society. This is the way Indians recycle. Unlike in the Western world where it is your responsibility to recycle your old newspapers and bottles at the recycling bank (or separating it at home) in India a man called a kabadiwala will show up in your colony, usually on a weekly basis, announcing his presence with his unique call of “kabaaaadeeeee, paeeepaaar, bowtthal”. This often nasal but incredibly well projected “sound” almost seems mechanical and wafts from street to street until it’s right outside your gate. Armed with just a weighing scale and some bags, these guys are able to carry incredible amounts of stuff on their backs, cycles or scooters. I saw one guy take away a washing machine on his scooter. The best part is, he gives you money for your old junk. Yes, we get paid to collect our old newspapers, bottles and sundry crap. We’ve become so high tech that you can now contact a kabadiwala via websites like Just Dial and Yellow Pages. So the Prestige exchange program fits in nicely with our Indian ethic. We don’t like to throw things away but when we have to, we’d like to get something for it.
So in our throw nothing away society, I urge you to go down to the Prestige Smart Kitchen shop near you (locate it here) knowing that your old pots and pans are going to that great big kitchen in the sky, while you get 20% off.